DLD Contributor: Darren Page
UCLA Defensive end Datone Jones and tight end Joseph Fauria are two prospects that impressed in their win over rival USC. Here is what we gleaned about their abilities as they relate to the 2013 NFL Draft.
Joseph Fauria entered this game as a tight end target with average production for most of the season, but a high number of touchdowns. He displayed why the Bruins love him in the redzone, recording his tenth receiving touchdown of the season and fifth in the last four games.
Fauria operates mostly from the slot for UCLA, but he does get a good number of snaps as an in-line tight end as well. As a pass catcher, he brings a lot to the table. He’s repeatedly shown the ability to extend away from his body to make catches. This large catch radius and ability to high-point the ball are what make him so effective in redzone situations. He’s a natural hands-catcher as well, rarely relying on his body.
Fauria won’t wow you athletically with merely average speed, but he can separate out of his breaks as he showed against USC. He’s not a matchup nightmare like some of the league’s best tight ends. He still has the height and frame to make some big plays though. Fauria is scattershot run blocker. At times, he shows the ability to bend, stay balanced, and place his hands well. Other times, he looks disinterested and gives as little effort as possible. This part of his game will definitely take some grooming, which limits his flexibility in the offense.
Overall, he has some impressive tools that can be put to use right away, but has limitations in the running game.
Datone Jones is clearly a defensive lineman with loads of raw, physical ability. His calling card is power and burst off the snap. Jones wants to get underneath of his blocker and overpower him right from the snap. He plays with great bend and always has his pad level low. When shooting off the ball, he wants to get through the gaps and make plays in the backfield. It can get him in trouble at times against the run.
Occasionally, he fails to counter run blocks and settles for shooting backside of it and chasing. Other times, he fires his hands properly and gains control right away. When he does this, he has the ability to shed blocks and pursue the ball carrier. These inconsistencies show just how raw of a prospect he is.
As a pass rusher, Jones wants to use his power and heavy hands to beat blockers the old-fashioned way. His hand usage can be inconsistent though, and when he gets going laterally his effectiveness decreases. He lacks great speed and will never be an edge pass rusher.
In space, his below average lateral quickness hinders him as well. UCLA has him playing the position he likely translates best to, 5 technique. He has vast potential at the position because of his size and raw ability. If taught how to properly absorb a double team and stay square, he’ll fit right into a 3-4 defense. He also has the ability to cause offenses problems by shooting gaps and making plays in the backfield.
Darren Page will be a featured contributor here at DetroitLionsDraft.com. He excels at breaking down games and providing in-depth detail on prospects. You should follow Darren on Twitter @DarrenPage15. He hopes to one day break into the business of football, specifically player personnel and scouting.